As you know, I’m all about the gigs. Whether you’re a student still preparing to enter the workforce, a young professional trying to diversify their income/experience, or a seasoned professional trying to get back in the game after a layoff. Gigs are a major part of the new job market reality…but understanding gigs and figuring out how to actually get them are two different stories.
That is why I was so excited to serendipitously connect with the team at FlexJobs, an online service/job board specifically designed for the gig-savvy professional. I was able to sit down with the CEO of FlexJobs, Sara Sutton Fell, and Director of Social Media, Brie Reynolds, to learn more about the company and how all of us can start gigging today. If you’re ready to start getting gigs, you can enter “Finch2013” into the promo code area to get 30% off membership to FlexJobs (thanks for your support, Sara!).
Nacie: What is FlexJobs, and how is it different from other career sites?
Sara: FlexJobs is a unique job search service because it focuses on helping professionals connect with legitimate, professional-level opportunities that offer some kind of flexibility. We are the leading career website for telecommuting, flexible schedule, freelance, and part-time jobs. Other job sites list lots of regular, traditional 9-5 jobs, with some flexible ones thrown in, but we list exclusively those flexible opportunities that help people find work-life balance. Two big differentiators are that every single job on the site is hand-screened by one of our excellent researchers and that we focus on professional-level jobs. 70% of our job-seekers have bachelor’s or graduate degrees, and the quality of our jobs reflects that.
N: How did FlexJobs get started? (Love to hear about the origin story here!)
Brie: FlexJobs was founded by Sara Sutton Fell in 2007, but that’s not the first experience she’s had founding and running a successful online job site. Sara started her first business when she was 21, a job search website geared towards college students called JobDirect which was sold to Korn/Ferry International in 2000.
Fast forward a bit, and Sara found herself starting a family and searching for flexible work opportunities that were in line with her professional and career goals and that would provide work-life balance and telecommuting options. Amazed and frustrated at the number of scams that existed in the work-from-home and flexible job niche, Sara founded FlexJobs in order to help the millions of other people in her position — people who want legitimate, professional opportunities that are flexible, part-time, freelance, and telecommute-friendly. We’ve grown to a team of 27 staffers who all work from home offices throughout the U.S. and Europe, and we all work flexible schedules and love being able to better balance our work and personal lives!
N: How do you define a “flex job”?
S: We like to be specific about what a flexible job is, while leaving a lot of room for the many variations that flexible jobs can take. At FlexJobs, we focus on four main types of flexible jobs – telecommute jobs (or working from home), flexible schedule jobs, freelance jobs, and part-time jobs. A flexible job, really, is any job that allows for the worker to be in control of their career, whether it’s by working from home, or working an alternative schedule that better fits their lives, or working as an independent contractor determining their workload and clients, or finally having a part-time schedule that helps to support them financially, while at the same time leaving ample room for all of the other important things in their lives.
N: How do you ladies use flex jobs to live Uncommon Lives?
B: My Uncommon Life started in 2009 when my husband took a rotational job that would have us moving to a new state every year for at least three years. I knew I wanted to continue my career, but that it would be difficult to change jobs every year, so I focused on finding a telecommuting job that I could take with me. Since then, I’ve lived in New Jersey, Georgia, and Texas, taking my job with me for each move, and it’s been amazing to grow as a professional while having maximum flexibility to live and work from anywhere.
S: Having a flexible job helps me live an Uncommon Life for sure. I may be the CEO and Founder of a successful company, but I work from my home office above my garage, I’m able to take lunch breaks with my two young sons, and I can see them off to or pick them up from school every day. I’m able to make the conscious choice to maintain work-life balance, making time for both my family and my business. I’m not sure how many CEOs can say the same!
N: Should people consider a flex job over a traditional job? Why? (if there is anyway you can link to adaptation here that would be great!)
S: Of course, we think so! One of the best reasons is that flexible jobs give career control back to professionals. The nature of the workplace has changed, and we can’t rely on a company to support us throughout our lives anymore. Just like The Finch Effect explains, we have to be able to adapt to changing work environments, and shift our mindsets to be in control of our own professional paths. Flexible jobs make people more able to do this. One of the trends we’re seeing is professionals who want to have their main career AND a side gig or a “Plan B” that they’re nurturing alongside their regular job, and flexible jobs are perfect for that.
N: Are there specific industries that post on FlexJobs?
B: We actually have over 50 industries/career categories represented on our site so almost any professional looking for a flexible job will find interesting opportunities here. Some industries are naturally more prone to flexible job options, and our top ten industries (based on the number of jobs posted) include Medical & Health, Administrative, Customer Service, Sales, Education & Training, Computer & IT, Accounting & Finance, Account Management, Nonprofit & Philanthropy, and Web & Software Development.
N: What is the message you’d like to send to American workers?
S: I think the overall message that we’re hoping to get out there is that work-life balance and job flexibility is attainable NOW. It’s not something to hope for in the future, it’s happening right now and there are a lot of opportunities from really smart companies and organizations who see the value in letting professionals have control over their personal and professional lives. Especially for the newest generation in the workforce, Gen Y, flexible jobs are considered the norm, not the exception. And as more workers see workplace flexibility as a must-have rather than a nice-to-have, the more it will continue to grow.
N: OK, most important question here: what are your thoughts on The X-Files?
B: Cheesy answer alert – I think we should make a new version and call it The Flex Files! We can investigate flexible jobs and continue to compile the evidence that they really do exist!
Be sure to check out FlexJobs.com and enter promo code FINCH2013 to receive an exclusive 30% discount for Uncommoners!
Here’s to your Uncommon Life,